15 Fabulous Eco-Friendly Places to Stay

Making choices that are kind to the planet is a mainstream activity these days. But that doesn't mean everyone does it, or that all the best UK places to stay are all eco-friendly. In fact you need to choose carefully if you want to stay somewhere that genuinely tries to make a difference. We've put together a guide to some of the best eco-friendly places to stay here, and below we've listed some of our favourites –  all of which make booking a sustainable and luxurious UK holiday a breeze.

Upper Barn, West Sussex

This should do nicely if you're looking for an eco-friendly self-catering holiday property in the South Downs National Park – situated in a uniquely beautiful position bang on the long-distance South Downs Way not far from Arundel, and with splendid views over the Arun Valley. This glorious rural bolthole for 2–4 people has been sensitively converted from its original purpose as a sheepfold and is now almost entirely self-sustainable, with solar panels for lighting and hot water, a Biomass boiler for heat and its own on-site sewerage system. Not only that – the nearby village of Amberley has its own train station, just a 10-minute walk away, so you can also get here easily on public transport.

Bethnal & Bec, Hertfordshire

This Hertfordshire collection of  self-catering retreats  is the ultimate adults-only, dog-friendly chill-out venue for weary folk looking to escape for a while and do... well.. nothing in particular. Crafted from a former stable block, it feels very rural and away-from-it-all, with countryside views and exceptional home comforts laid on by the thoughtful Vicky and Chris, who are also big on environmental credentials and have won awards for sustainability initiatives implemented so far. As part of their eco-forward ethos, they've installed EV chargers, there are e-bikes to hire, and the retreats were built using reclaimed, repurposed, recycled and rescued materials where possible. What's more, Vicky and Chris offer a free dine-in box to people arriving by train (they're just a 20-minute journey from London King's Cross).

Tack Barn, East Sussex

An environmentally-sound, self-catering bolthole for two that’s as firmly rooted in Sussex as the small woodland that surrounds it, Tack Barn is situated a few miles outside Lewes and the South Downs National Park. But it’s not just what surrounds this gorgeous spot that makes it 'Sussex central'. It’s what’s inside too. From the trug that’s left for you to collect garden veg to the mug you’ll drink your tea from, this place is as sustainably Sussex as self-catering can be, with outstanding eco credentials that include water heated by solar energy, drainage via a reed bed, and EV charging for your eco-conscious car.

Middle Stone Farm, Somerset

Positioned in a beautiful location on the edge of Exmoor, Middle Stone Farm is more or less literally in the middle-of nowhere, a collection of safari tents plus a Cabin and a Cottage that's perfect for families with young children as well as couples looking to get away from it all.. It's long been an environmentally friendly place to stay, kind to both the rare-breed pigs and sheep, goats, chickens and alpacas that roam the site but also to the planet,, with  a biomass boiler, solar panels, a private water source and all wood sourced from sustainable woodland. The cabin is even provided with a solar-powered wind-up radio!

Gravel Farm, Cambridgeshire

Just a few miles south of the cathedral city of Ely, these four spacious self-catering cottages are situated in a glorious riverside spot on a small 12-acre farm. They're an eco-friendly choice, powered and heated by a mixture of ground- and air-source heat pumps and solar panels, and extremely comfortable to boot! You;re alsop brilliantly placed for numerous riverside walks, great birdwatching opportunities up and down the Great Ouse, and a mixture of country lanes and dedicated cycle routes for rural rides. With the National Trust's oldest nature reserve Wicken Fen just two minutes away too, there is no better or more sustainable base for exploring the unique landscape of the Fens

Beechenhill Farm, Derbyshire

This fabulous farm-based trio of Peak District cottages has won awards for sustainable tourism and deservedly so. Beechenhill is a glorious eco-retreat, home to three of the most bucolic self-catering holiday cottages you could imagine and also an onsite gallery where you can see the artwork of resident artist Sue Prince. Accessibility has been a key consideration and there is wheelchair access downstairs, two ground floor bedrooms, a large wet room, profiling bed, riser recliner and a host of other equipment and features. In fact the whole place gets all the details right,  with local (or often their own) organic produce for sale and sustainability in everything on the farm, from a biomass boiler and induction hobs to the first EV charger in the region. There's a Swedish wood fired hot tub and sauna in the woods to really get close to nature and the location is perfect for walks and exploring the local countryside.

Riverside Cabins, Shropshire

A hideaway riverside, boutique cabin retreat in the heart of rural Shropshire sounds like just the thing to recharge batteries, and these award-winning eco-retreats on the banks of the pretty River Perry, surrounded by woodland, don't disappoint. First, it's an immaculate location –: 10 acres of tranquillity tucked away behind a belt of bird-filled trees that line the river, and with plenty of space to call your own – plus bracing wild swimming or dipping in their natural plunge pool. All the accommodation is dog-friendly and each has a Ninja air fryer, plus two of the larger lodges have access ramps for those with restricted mobility. They're also very eco-conscious – a green ethos that was rewarded when Riverside Cabins clinched the West Midlands Tourism Best Ethical, Sustainable and Responsible Business in 2023.  There's also a communal fire pit, a couple of e-bikes for hire, and stand-up paddle boards and kayaks to borrow for free.

Cruckbarn, Herefordshire

It's not every day you get the chance to sleep in someone's vision, but that's exactly what Cruckbarn is – a self-realised labour of love built by architect John Williams on a secluded plot of land high above the Herefordshire village of Wigmore, Cruckbarn is also as eco-friendly as you like: natural materials have been used throughout – the beams are fashioned from oak sourced from the nearby forest – and the building has been clad with more timber, reclaimed slates and breathable, old-fashioned lime. It also boasts underfloor heating and hot water provided by a ground-source heat pump. It even has WiFi, though not much of a phone signal (which may be a blessing), and a Bluetooth music system and digital radio as well as a vinyl record deck for those (ahem...) of a certain age. But – deliberately – there's no TV.

A Corner of Eden, Cumbria

These luxury dog-friendly and eco-friendly cottages occupyone of the most beautiful corners of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. All of the cottages are dog friendly and they recently won the i newspaper's  'Dog-friendly Accommodation of the Year' award, but it's very eco-friendly too, with a ground-source heat pump, PV panels and sheep's wool insulation in at least one of the properties. But it's not all about dogs and sustainability: the lovely Shepherd's Cottage is as romantic a country retreat as you could desire, with an Aga and wood-burner and a four-poster super-king-size bed. It also has a cast-iron bath in its private garden for enjoying a soak under the stars!

Rufus's Roost, North Yorkshire

We love a treehouse, and our friends at Baxby Manor raised the bar when they opened Rufus's Roost, a luxurious purpose-built structure that looks like something conjured from a dream, perched on a hillside among woodlands and reached by way of a raised boardwalk through the trees.  Once here, you can enjoy pure peace and uninterrupted views through the trees across the Moors, have a soak in the terrace hot tub and basically commune with nature to your heart's content. One of the most secluded, eco-friendly glamping escapes in North Yorkshire, heating and hot water are provided by an air-course heat pump and all lighting is LED; there is a wood-fired pizza oven and the heat powers hot tub too. A large verandah provides space for alfresco dining and monitoring the wildlife with binoculars and your very own bat monitoring station.

Llwynbwch Barn, Camarthenshire

This converted haybarn in Wales occupies a sublimely rural Camarthenshire location: streams cross the meadow, alive with butterflies and moths during the late spring and summer months, while, regardless of the season, you'll also spot the owners' small herd of Exmoor ponies, who play a vital role in the land management, helping build the biodiversity of what is effectively the couple's personal rewilding project. As for the barn itself, this is as eco-friendly as it gets – insulated with sheeps' wool, with a roof that is partially insulated by planting, and electricity provided by solar panels and Ecotricity, plus there is an EV charging point for guests' use.

The Den by the Stream, Ceredigion

Adults-only and dog-friendly, The Den by the Stream is about as good as it gets if you're a couple looking for an eco-friendly place to stay. Sitting on its own in a quiet corner of a private meadow next to a cascading stream, this rustic cabin is the perfect place for you and your loved one to chill out in complete seclusion – hand-built and off-grid, with a hand-crafted four-poster bed made out of trees from the surrounding woodland.  There's no wifi, but that's the point – there's an underground terracotta cooler to keep food and drink cool, an indoor shower room with an efficient filtered rainwater shower (heated from grass compost), a compost loo and organic toiletries and lighting and power provided by a solar panel– so yes, you can charge your phone!.

Ecotone Cabins, Ross-Shire

Set in a forest clearing overlooking the waters of Loch Broom, just 3 miles from Ullapool, these eco-cabins give you the chance to enjoy some epic scenery and wildlife from your window: you can see the red squirrels and pine martens the cabins are named for, watch the changing light on the water, hear birdsong in the woods and appreciate the stars by night – and by doing so, you'll be ensuring the future of this special spot, as your stay will help fund its regeneration. The cabins and other woodland businesses are the work of the Planterose family, who have been working to increase the biodiversity of this former mixed conifer plantation in a people-and-planet-friendly way. The cabins have been built with a sensitive touch and are as sustainable as it gets: the timber used in their construction was felled and hewn right here; wood fibre insulation, underfloor heating and energy efficiency of the place keep things so cosy, so there’s no need for a log burner. But don’t worry there’s a fire pit outside.

East Cambusmoon, Dunbartonshire

An environmentally aware self-catering oasis just back from the banks of Loch Lomond, East Cambusmoon Farm is a five-acre smallholding handily tucked into the heart of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The savvy couple who run the cottages – Deborah and Steve Macken – have experience in renewables and have learned lessons from their success in fashioning their own home on clean and green lines. The result is spectacular, with fabulous insulation, solar panels, heat and hot water provided by a ground-source heat pump and no less than three EV charging-points. All brilliant and compelling proof that a low-carbon footprint and a responsible attitude to the environment doesn't mean sacrificing comfort or style. You can rent the cottages individually, for couples or for families, or together they can accommodate up to 14 people in some style.

Cairngorm Lodges, Aberdeenshire

There's something special about waking up deep in a forest: sleeping in the woods engenders a closeness to nature that can't quite be replicated anywhere else, and the truth is that staying in a wooden lodge in some of the Cairngorms National Park's deepest, darkest woodland is about as far away from most people's day-to-day existence as it's possible to get. Everything here is done with the environment in mind: the lodges are built from sustainable wood and the forest is sustainably managed; they re-cycle everything, and, perhaps most importantly, are passionate about preserving and encouraging the local flora and fauna, encouraging dragonflies, running bee-keeping courses and offering lots of advice on where to spot local wildlife – red squirrels are daily visitors to the lodges and there are red deer in the woods and beyond; and among an abundance of birdlife you will be able to spot kestrels, sparrow hawks and pine martens.

Travelling Electric? Check out our Guides to Places to Stay with EV Charging:

Holiday Cottages with EV Charging

Hotels and B&Bs with EV Charging

What Customers say about Cool Places

Everything I needed for a stay

I'm already looking forward to going again and would highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting the area. It definitely deserves a five star rating!

Nathan, Verified Customer

6 out of 5!!!!

This place was amazing… I could not recommend this place enough, I’ll be singing their praise for many years to come and we are going to book again soon.

Barbara, Verified Customer

Easy to navigate

Great site that offers a really broad range of places to stay across the UK. Easy to navigate and book holidays.

Patrick, Verified Customer

Such a great variety of properties

Found this website when looking to book a staycation for later in the year. Such a great variety of properties and the website is really easy to use. Already shared with my family and friends.

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Great, simple, straightforward

Great, simple and straightforward. I will definitely be using Cool Places again.

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